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The Fiat Chrysler company has recalled more than 5 million vehicles worldwide because drivers might not be able to turn off the cruise control. The recall is one of the largest ever issued in the United States.

The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until their vehicle can be repaired with a software update. The automaker said it knows of no accidents, injuries or fatalities caused by the defective cruise control.

Fiat Chrysler said the problem happens if the cruise control accelerates at the same time as an electrical short-circuit. Tapping the brakes or tapping the cruise control button won’t disengage the cruise control.

The company said that if drivers are unable to cancel cruise control, they can stop the vehicle by shifting into neutral and braking. Once the vehicle has come to a complete stop, drivers must put the vehicle in park in order to cancel the cruise-control engagement.

Mark Chernoby, Fiat Chrysler’s head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance in North America, said in a statement that it would take “extraordinary circumstances” for the problem to happen. But, he said, “We are taking this action because we are fully committed to vehicle safety.”

Cruise control recall:
Problem found in October

The potential problem was found by company engineers as they were testing torque control systems last October, according to a timeline provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

An investigation by Fiat Chrysler turned up a single customer complaint related to a 2017 Dodge Journey rented from Avis. Engineers replicated the problem in March.

cruise control

The Fiat Chrysler company has recalled more than 5 million vehicles worldwide because drivers might not be able to turn off the cruise control. The recall is one of the largest ever issued in the United States.

Cruise control recall:
Driver’s scary experience

In that complaint filed with the NHTSA, an owner from Olathe, KS, said he was driving the 2017 Dodge Journey SUV about 70 miles per hour with the cruise control on when the windshield wipers came on by themselves and the throttle locked up.

The owner, who was not identified in the complaint, said the cruise control would not disengage by applying the brakes or tapping the cruise control button. The driver said he was able to slam on the brakes and get the SUV to the side of the road.

“It was still running at an engine speed to support 70 mph and fighting the brakes,” the driver said.

The engine stop button also wouldn’t work, but the driver said he was able to halt the SUV and shift into park as the brakes “smoked significantly.”

The NHTSA, which is the U.S. government’s road safety agency, is urging drivers to avoid using cruise control until repairs are made. Owners who have questions can call the dealership from where the vehicle was purchased, or contact Fiat Chrysler at (866) 220-6747.

Cruise control recall:
15 models affected

The recall affects 15 models of Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler and Ram from six model years (2014 to 2019). All vehicles have internal-combustion engines and automatic transmissions.

Included are 4.8 million vehicles in the United States, almost 500,000 in Canada, and an undetermined number in Mexico and elsewhere.

Affected models include:

  • 2014-2019 Ram 1500 pickup
  • 2014-2018 Ram 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickups and chassis cab trucks
  • 2015-2017 Chrysler 200
  • 2014-2018 Chrysler 300
  • 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivan
  • 2015-2018 Dodge Challenger
  • 2014-2018 Dodge Charger
  • 2014-2018 Dodge Journey
  • 2014-2018 Dodge Durango
  • 2014-2018 Jeep Cherokee
  • 2014-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Cruise control recall
not first for Fiat Chrysler

The cruise control flaw is not the first to lead to a major Fiat Chrysler recall in North America in the past year.

In December, the company recalled almost 1.8 million Ram trucks after it was discovered that the vehicles could start rolling without the key being inserted into the ignition or the driver’s foot on the brake, stemming from a flaw in the vehicle’s steering column shifter.

Last September, Fiat Chrysler recalled almost 444,000 heavy-duty pickup trucks and medium trucks after it was reported that their water pump could overheat and possibly start a fire.